Germany in 1912: Images 316 to 320

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Himalayan donkey does not reach the size of those in our country, but it has a more distinguished, almost graceful form.

Llamas -- a pair of llamas around three years old sells for 1,000 francs.

The seals cost relatively less. One can get a seal of enormous size for 400 francs.

Krupp manufactures much of the armour plates used in the German navy.

Kiel is the largest military port in the Baltic. It's the only part on the coast where nature has provided a natural deep water shelter for large vessels.


9-pixel image of Ceres now released

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Very pleased with the speed in which they released this picture.'

And the 9 pixels-long Ceres looks like...


And this is just the beginning. Dawn is now about 1 million km away from the tiny ice planet.

As for what Ceres looks like at that distance compared to the rest of the sky:

The nine-pixel-wide image of Ceres released today serves as a final calibration of the science camera that is necessary before Dawn gets to Ceres. The dwarf planet appears approximately as bright as Venus sometimes appears from Earth. Ceres has an average diameter of about 590 miles (950 kilometers).

So Ceres at 1.2 million km is marginally brighter than Venes at 50 million km or so. Venus is much larger, but Ceres also has a really, really low albedo (9%). Still higher than Comet 67p (5%), mind you. The moon is at 12% for comparison.

To illustrate this take a look at this picture that was passed around online quite a bit a few weeks back, to show the difference between a nearly 100% albedo (Enceladus) and 5% (Comet 67p). Venus is 90%, Earth is 30%. So Ceres is slightly closer to albedo of our moon.


9-pixel Ceres picture being taken as we speak

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Great news - we're getting our first eye candy of Ceres soon. The picture is actually just being taken for science camera calibration purposes, but we'll see it soon (if they know what's good for them) and it will be our first real picture of Ceres that Dawn has taken. There actually was another photo of Ceres taken before but that was taken even before it reached Vesta, so nothing any more spectacular than the Ceres we can see in the sky as well, other than the fact that there is no atmosphere getting in the way.

But this one will be nine pixels across.

One final calibration of the science camera is needed before arrival at Ceres. To accomplish it, the camera needs to take pictures of a target that appears just a few pixels across. The endless sky that surrounds our interplanetary traveler is full of stars, but those beautiful pinpoints of light, while easily detectable, are too small for this specialized measurement. But there is an object that just happens to be the right size. On Dec. 1, Ceres will be about nine pixels in diameter, nearly perfect for this calibration.

So it'll be something like this blown up.

Can't wait!


Germany in 1912: Images 311 to 315

Hagenbeck's menagerie: under the leadership of the drivers the elephans walks, stop from time to time to swallow the sand of the walkways.

Crawling along the rocks, always busy, is a crowd of the most diverse monkeys: baboons, hamadryas, macaques, mandrills, mangabees, etc.

The sea lions are among the most intelligent animals. Along with the walrus they are the easiest marine mammals to train.

Hagenbeck's menagerie also sells penguins with prices reaching 200 and 375 francs depending on species.

The little animal that drags this tiny cart is very rare, belonging to a race of donkeys living in the Himalayan Mountains.


What will happen to Catalonia?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Two or so weeks ago the poll on what readers think Catalonia should do ended, and it was surprisingly close to the actual results of the referendum / consultation:

Yes, I want Catalonia to become a State, and for it to be independent.
  80 (57%)
Yes, I want Catalonia to become a State, but not independent.
  25 (18%)
No, I do not want Catalonia to become a State.
  33 (23%)

Nombre de votes jusqu'à présent : 138

So that was quite interesting. Now the consultation is over and Spain is not happy with the results, calling it a illegal, a waste of time, a clear sign that support for independence is low (taking into account the overall turnout), etc.

Okay, so one more question on Catalonia. What *will* happen to Catalonia? Will it stay in Spain, leave it, leave it and violence will occure, etc. etc. Sometimes referendums/a occur where independence later happens, but sometimes there are votes for independence that just end up with some extra automony and everyone decides that this is actually a fine state of affairs after all. Make your predictions!


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